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Author Topic: Soundcraft Si Expression 3- initial thoughts  (Read 20833 times)

Mike Reigh

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Soundcraft Si Expression 3- initial thoughts
« on: May 19, 2013, 11:19:18 am »

    After two events, I think I finally have a solid grasp on this desk and the remote app that goes with it.  I used it for an indoor two band event, and an outdoor four band event that spanned all day.  I'll talk about the features I used the most; I ran into only one issue that is bothersome, but I'm not sure if the app caused it, or something in the software.

    The board sounds great, plenty of headroom on the outputs, fairly intuitive layout and easy to learn.  It seems that the default parameters for the gate and compressor are too aggressive in some settings.  I set up a basic show before I left with the console that used them on the first 16 channels.   The first show on the mixer only required 16, so I ended up with gates where they weren't needed; so if you've never heard an acoustic guitar with a gate on it, it sounds like shit.  Since it was still new to me, it took me a little to figure out what the problem was.

    The four effects processors work great, I set up my first mute group to mute them so I don't have to switch fader banks to turn them off/on.  I have a vocal plate, tap delay, drum plate on 1-3, and #4 I haven't needed yet. 

    The Faderglow feature is nice, but in direct sunlight, it didn't catch my eye right away and I almost mixed on an aux inadvertently.

    The mixer itself is a really nice piece of gear, I've never mixed on a high-end board, so I can't compare it to an M7 or greater.  The big negative about it, and I can't really say it's the mixer's fault, is the remote app.  Twice, I've had outputs turn themselves down for no reason.  Twice, it was pre-fade auxes, once it was the LR out.  I'm lumping this with the app, since the app is buggy and crashes occasionally.  I'm wondering if when the app crashes, it takes out the output of whatever bank you're on.  (pure speculation)

    There are only two things I would like to have added to the app to make it really awesome:  head amp gain and mute group functionality.  Lacking these two really makes the app suck, hard.  The multi-band all day festival set-up had me take FOH shelter at the side of the stage, 50' away from it.  Needless to say, I relied heavily on the app to mix FOH from the "dance floor"/congregation area.  If I needed more gain, I had to walk over to the console, and in between every song, I had to do the same to mute the FX.  My dogs were barking at the end of the day.  While I could have simply turned them off on the app, and I did several times, the stereo outs are at the end of channel 56.  If you're mixing on 1-24, it takes a while to scroll clean to the end to turn things on and off.  It wouldn't be so bad if I could scroll backwards from 1-8, to the stereo outs, but the app doesn't allow it.

    I'm hoping for an app update soon, and I haven't checked for mixer firmware upgrade yet.  It's still on the truck with a weekend off, but if there is something that will make it work better, I'll take the time and get it updated.  Thanks for reading, I hope my rambling made sense. 

Mike
« Last Edit: May 19, 2013, 11:22:19 am by Mike Reigh »
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George Dougherty

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Re: Soundcraft Si Expression 3- initial thoughts
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2013, 07:05:56 pm »

Admittedly I haven't used it yet, but the one thing I really didn't get was the lack of a scribble strip. I really want to like this board because I'm a longtime fan of Soundcraft desks. However, I really don't see the point of layers without scribble strips.  It doesn't seem like a bunch of little cheap LCD screens should add that much in cost and the usability drops in my book without them.  I'd happily pay another few hundred for them and it would make the appeal of an X32 much lower in this price range. All kinds of other things that could have been skimped on and still left an excellent contender.
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Anthony Forchielli

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Re: Soundcraft Si Expression 3- initial thoughts
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2013, 01:23:50 am »

The Soundcraft Performer has channel screens as well as VCA's and a bunch of other features (for more money obviously).  But for the price I don't think there's a better digital console in this range for the money.  The expression get's you a great sounding digital console for a price the competitors can't touch in my opinion.  The console just sounds too good to ignore. 
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Nicolas Poisson

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Re: Soundcraft Si Expression 3- initial thoughts
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2013, 07:11:11 am »

I really don't see the point of layers without scribble strips.

Usually these LCD scribble strips are needed, to follow the layers. But I find this is less a problem on the SI-Compact/Expression due to the great number of faders. It is common that a full show fits in a single layer. Thus the old way of tape above faders works pretty well. Whether the fader is used as a input level to master bus or aux send, it is associated to the same input.
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Chuck Simon

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Re: Soundcraft Si Expression 3- initial thoughts
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2013, 10:04:14 am »

Usually these LCD scribble strips are needed, to follow the layers. But I find this is less a problem on the SI-Compact/Expression due to the great number of faders. It is common that a full show fits in a single layer. Thus the old way of tape above faders works pretty well. Whether the fader is used as a input level to master bus or aux send, it is associated to the same input.

Agreed!  Thanks to Mikes excellent tip about using a mute group for effects, I can mix most gigs on a single layer.  The only complaint I have, and it is a minor one, is the location of the headphone jack. 
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 10:25:16 am by Chuck Simon »
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Eric Reese

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Re: Soundcraft Si Expression 3- initial thoughts
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2013, 08:56:47 am »

Question for the Expression users:
In looking into the Si expression console, it states that Mix 9-14 can be set up as stereo. Do you know how these patch when in stereo? Are 9-10, 11-12, 13-14 set up as pairs, or can each mix have two outputs? (I.e. is it three stereo pairs, or six?) I'm thinking about using this board, but I want a minimum of 4-6 pairs of auxs for stereo IEM's.

Thanks,
Eric
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Eric Reese
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Sennheiser Electronic Corporation

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Loud and Clear Productions, LLC

Nicolas Poisson

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Re: Soundcraft Si Expression 3- initial thoughts
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2013, 03:11:03 am »

I do not know on the Expression but I guess this is the same as the Compact: any pair of odd/even bus can be linked as a stereo pair: 1+2, 3+4, and so on. So you can get up to 8 stereo analog outputs plus AES.
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Mike Reigh

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Re: Soundcraft Si Expression 3- initial thoughts
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2013, 12:13:12 pm »

Yes, pretty much the same as the Compact, all of the pairing/routing is done through the menu touch screen. 

After a few months, countless gigs and a firmware update, I don't think I'll ever need a high end mixer.  The issue with outputs randomly turning down was fixed and I rarely use the remote control feature.  It has done everything from theatre productions to monitor mix duty and did a stellar job on it all.  I'd really like to get a smaller version of it so I can throw it in my car for walk-in gigs. 
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Paul Thompson

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Re: Soundcraft Si Expression 3- initial thoughts
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2013, 12:23:33 pm »

Question for the Expression users:
In looking into the Si expression console, it states that Mix 9-14 can be set up as stereo. Do you know how these patch when in stereo? Are 9-10, 11-12, 13-14 set up as pairs, or can each mix have two outputs? (I.e. is it three stereo pairs, or six?) I'm thinking about using this board, but I want a minimum of 4-6 pairs of auxs for stereo IEM's.

Thanks,
Eric

It will become six stereo pairs.
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Mac Kerr

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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2013, 12:33:40 pm »

It will become six stereo pairs.

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